It’s a free fishing weekend. Get out there and enjoy New York’s outstanding water resources. This Saturday and Sunday, residents and nonresidents alike have an opportunity to fish Empire State waters for free. It’s a great time to take a family member, old friend or the next generation on the water to make that important connection with nature. There are some special events to help encourage more people to pick up a fishing rod and give it a try, such as the Family Fishing Days that will take place on the Upper Niagara River at the foot of Ferry Street from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. For more information contact George Johnson at 818-3410.
Saturday June 29 is the start of the Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Summer Trout and Salmon Derby (www.loc.org). We are also entering a transition time when fish become more scattered. There are plenty of fish available, but you may have to work for them. We have 2 different reports off Wilson. Capt. Taz Morrison of Appleton reports that he was targeting 200 to 350 foot of water, placing his baits in the top 100 feet. Also, Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown was marking bait in 80 to 120 feet of water. If you see fish around the bait, go after them. Magnum and super slim trolling spoons were the best lures. Yellows, greens, combos were the best colors. Some meat and flasher-fly but it was mostly a spoon bite. Pay attention to social media, too. Doug Morash of Grand Island and John Jarosz of Lakeview paid attention to lure details from Capt. Matt Yablonsky and Capt. Bob Songin. It allowed them to select a couple lures that produced 20 and 21 pound salmon while fishing off Wilson the past week. Off Olcott, Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane noted that with the rapidly changing water temperatures, fish locations change not just by the day but by the hour. Good catches continue, but not without effort. He caught fish from 15 feet of 100 feet below the surface over 60 to 200 feet of water off Olcott with DW and Super Slim spoons, spin doctors and A-Tom-Mik flies, and cut bait to take salmon, steelhead and lake trout.
Moss is an issue in many stretches of the river, especially in the lower section. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle reports that the best area for bass has been along the clay banks, as well as in Youngstown. Both catfish and sheepshead are also showing up, but the moss is limiting your time in the water. The Erie Canal Fishing Derby is set to kick off July 3 and run through July 14 from the Upper Niagara River to Albion in the canal proper (no tributaries like Tonawanda Creek in Pendleton). Check out www.eriecanalderby.com for details. Upper river action has been best in the emerald channel for walleye according to Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island (a new member of the local charter fleet). The Beaver Island area has been good for bass using tubes and swimbaits. However, the moss is impacting these areas, too.